Friday, September 22, 2017

Movie Adaptation Review: Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

Last weekend I watched three YA book-to-movie adaptations on Lifetime. The first two didn't do much for me: Ten: Murder Island (which was like a take off on And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie crossed with 13 Reasons Why although it is based on Ten by Gretchen McNeil) and Drink, Slay, Love (based on the novel by Sarah Beth Durst); but it was the third one I was looking forward to....

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.
There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.

Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

My Review of the Movie Adaptation:
I haven't read this book, but I did put it on my Amazon books-to-buy-later list when I first saw the preview. 

The premise of the Movie was appealing enough; a girl moves to an island to live with her estranged mother after her father's death. There she learns about the mythical Seawalkers (basically mermaids), grabs the attention of the local "it" boy and pisses off his popular girlfriend while herself being drawn to the mysterious boy she's not supposed to be with. (Though the movie sounds nothing like the book's blurb describes it as!)

So it should have been something I would like, right? Instead, the movie was a huge letdown. The first hour and fifty minutes were spent mostly on stuff that didn't matter while everything important was crammed into the last ten minutes of the movie.

The movie left more questions than answers. Was Miranda a seawalker? Did her father die because he stayed out of the water too long? Was T.J. a seawalker Hunter? Did Leo really die at the end? What was up with Amelia and the trident?!?! 

I'm in no way blaming the book since I haven't read it yet. It just feels like a lot of the meat of the book might have been left out in the making of the movie. 

Did I enjoy the movie? Sure, but I felt like I spent most of the movie waiting for something to happen then the ending was a rushed mess that let me down. Do I still want to read the book? I probably want to read it more now after seeing the movie to see what was left out.

My Rating:
Movie Overall: 3.5 / 5 Stars
Acting: 4/5 Stars
Story Adaptation: 2/5 Stars
The idea was there, the movie just didn't live up to it.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

#BookMail Thursday #33

Sadly other posts have delayed my usual Thursday #BookMail posts, but this way I have way more books to show you than just my once a week post...

Book Mail the week of September 1, 2017

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

Because of Lila by Abbi Glines
I was so happy to finally get my signed copy of Because of Lila! I ordered this book way back in July thinking I'd get it by my birthday but for some reason, it took more than a month to get to me! 

Book Mail the Week of September 4, 2017

Tower of Dawn (Target Exclusive Edition) by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn (Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition) and The Assasin's Blade by Sarah J Maas from Good Choice Reading's virtual signing

Enchantment Lake and an ARC of The Clue In the Trees by Margi Preus courtesy of University of Minnesota Press

Book Mail the Week of September 18, 2017

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

September Waiting On:
Signed Copies of:
- Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
- The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday #92

This "WIR"-Wednesday I'm trying to break out of my book slump by rereading a book I'm not sure I gave enough credit to the first time I read it. I'm reading the horror debut of an author I've since come to love...

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Three students: dead. 
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace. 

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, "the girl of nowhere." 

Kaitlyn's diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn't exist, and in a way, she doesn't - because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson. 

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It's during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it. 

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary - and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.

Why I Chose to Reread This Book | What I Think So Far (This Time):
The first time I read this book I didn't like it. It gave off a creepy vibe. I decided to reread this book because it's been two years since I last read it and since then I read and love Dawn Kurtagich's other book, And The Trees Crept In so I decided to give The Dead House another try. 

This time I have a completely different view of this book. I haven't encountered the parts that made my skin crawl the last time, so maybe I will still get the chills, but I'm better prepared to handle it now. This time I find myself feeling sorry for Kaitlyn. What if she isn't just an alter? Or what if she is the main personality and Carly is the alter? I don't care for Carly this time around, she's as they described her in the section I just read: clingy.

The way this book is set out also makes it an easy read. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

{Blog Tour} Book Review: The Clue In The Trees by Margi Preus

The Clue In The Trees (Northwoods #2) by Margi Preus
The Clue In The Trees
Northwoods #2
by Margi Preus
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Francie’s brother Theo has secrets—secrets Francie thinks she wants to know. But what if one of those secrets is that Theo is a murderer? To avoid considering that possibility, Francie plunges into her senior year at a small-town high school near Enchantment Lake in northern Minnesota. It’s a radical change from her private school in New York, but she hopes to keep an eye on her great aunts and maybe finally learn more about the mother she never knew. A small silver box seems to hold the answers, and she is determined to get her hands on it.

But when her long-lost brother turns up, so does a dead body, and once again Francie is drawn into a mystery. A long list of suspects, with Theo at the top, keeps her head spinning. When Francie herself becomes a suspect she starts to feel like she is walking on thin ice, but it isn’t until she is literally walking on thin ice that the pieces start to come together—and by then it may be too late.

In her previous adventure Enchantment Lake, Francie was thrown into northern Minnesota lake living: fishing, berry picking, lost kayaks and scary boat rides, poisoned hotdishes, exploding bulldozers, a forest fire . . . and murder. But if she thinks things have settled down, she’s in for a surprise. A new school with new friends (and a few enemies), a lead role in a play, an encounter with a giant muskie, archaeological twists, secret tunnels, thin ice, and a strangely sticky murder are all coming her way in The Clue in the Trees.

The Clue in the Trees takes place in a small town in northern Minnesota, though which side of the state it doesn't specify (probably not the Wisconsin side in my opinion). If you're looking for a book that's a short, easy read that perfectly describes the atmosphere of the northern Midwest, this is definitely your series. But as for mystery? I'm not so sure.

We meet our heroine (or re-meet if you've read the first book.) when she wakes up in the middle of the night and finds her long-lost brother sitting in the living room of her apartment at 3 am. Two things immediately sprung to mind as I read this:

1. Someone let themselves into your apartment at 3 am and you don't question that? Especially when they tell you to follow them to a gift shop? At 3 am?!?

2. What 17-year-old has their own apartment?!?!

Anyway, it isn't long before a murder occurs. But even though Francie has been compared to Nancy Drew, she's not really what I'd think of when I think girl detective. Probably because she keeps telling everyone she has no interest in solving the murder and because she doesn't seem to have the curiosity needed for the type of character she's supposed to be. Don't you want to find out what happened?

Most of this book seems to steer away from the murder investigation, instead focusing on Francie's missing or possibly dead mother and a missing silver box. The author also off-shoots into things like crude oil pipelining, protesting the pipelining, a Greek play the school is putting on, and a bunch of stuff one could do in a small country town in northern Minnesota. Then the ending and the motive for the murder was just so ridiculous it was comical.

 There wasn't just enough mystery for me. I thought this book would be more in the line of a teenage sleuth reminiscent of Mrs. Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote, or even something along the lines of Texas Gothic or Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore.  I also didn't feel like the characters felt like modern teenagers. The phrases they used, like "skedaddle", sounding more like someone in the 1950s or 1960s would use, if even then and their use of things - whether social media or computers or cell phones seemed lacking. 

What this book did remind me of was something one of the local authors in my north-central Wisconsin area would write, something that might get sold in a local store for a 'flavor of the area' type thing. And if I didn't know this book was set in Minnesota I would have been more apt to believe it was more likely set in Yooper-land (Northern Michigan).

Despite all that, I can't exactly say how I feel about this book. I neither loved it nor disliked it. It did move fast, which is always good, but I just feel sort of indifferent about the book as a whole. It was made to sound like a YA novel, but I believe it is much better suited for a Middle-Grade audience. 

My Rating:
3.5 of 5 stars

Grab a copy of The Clue In the Trees for yourself! 
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Kobo

About the Author:
Margi Preus is a New York Times bestselling author of several books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor book, Heart of a Samurai, the Minnesota Book Award-winning West of the Moon, and Shadow on the Mountain, a Notable Book for a Global Society. New in 2015 is Enchantment Lake, a Northwoods mystery, and The Bamboo Sword, which Bookpage says is “historical fiction at its best.”

“Margi Preus has a remarkable ability to create fascinating, page-turning stories that transport readers to faraway times and places. Whether she’s evoking Norway during World War II or 19th century Japan, Preus combines impeccable research with strong characterization and plot—the very elements that draw readers into history and spark the curiosity to learn more.” Bookpage, Sept. 2015

Connect with Margi Online:

1 copy of THE CLUE IN THE TREES by Margi Preus
It can be read as a standalone
US Only

September 18th

September 19th
Bittersweet Enchantment- This or That/10 List

September 20th

September 21st

September 22nd

September 23rd

September 24th

Monday, September 18, 2017

Book Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco
In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer...or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

My Review
I dove into this book blind after seeing the cover and having instant cover love and reading an excerpt from the first chapter on Entertainment Weekly. I hadn't read the first book, although I have since rectified that, but I found this book easy to get into. 

The world-building in Hunting Prince Dracula is fantastic and the story-telling was enchanting. I felt as if I stepped right into the pages and was living the story. Audrey Rose is the definition of a strong female lead, a term I find to be overused lately but the term definitely describes Audrey. She's brave, fearless, unafraid to get her hands dirty, and easily proves that girls can do all of the things that guys can do. I find sometimes that some characters take some time to like, but I liked Audrey instantly. 

Audrey and Thomas reminded me of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Their investigative skills blew me away and I loved all of the details of late-nineteenth-century autopsies and forensic studies, the author definitely did her research. 

I loved both the setting (having read other books set roughly in the same region and time period and loving those it felt like I was returning to something familiar) and the secondary characters that brought the story together perfectly. I never saw the ending coming! 

Overall, I was hooked on Hunting Prince Dracula from the first page. I didn't want to put it down and I'm already eager to read the next book! 

My Rating:
5 of 5 Stars!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

What I'm Working On: September

It's halfway through September (and still overwhelmingly hot here in Wisconsin) and I'm about halfway through my current writing project so I just want to catch you up on what I'm working on this month...

Night of Terror

Night of Terror is a short story/novelette/novella which I will be posting one chapter per week on Wattpad starting on October 3rd and continuing until it is complete. Night of Terror is aimed to be a horror story and as of right now it is 9,000 words in length and I'm in the midst of the 6th chapter - which means you'll get to read this story at least through all of October and into November!

Where will you be able to find this story? Follow me on Wattpad!

Monsters & Mist
In November, I will be starting my next full-length novel, Monsters & Mist and this month I'm outlining the chapters so I can figure out what parts of the plot need to be filled in and worked on. 


This month I revealed the cover art for my upcoming novel, CurseBreaker and this month I still need to get the Kindle edition ready to go up for preorder, order paperback ARCs, and begin reaching out to bloggers and readers about review requests. 


That's what I'm working on writing-wise this month. What are you up to?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

#BookTag Saturday: Meet the Book Blogger Tag

This is a play on the #meetthebookstagrammer tag on Instagram.

 1. Where Are You From?

Shawano, Wisconsin

2. When did you start your book blog?

July 26, 2015

3. Author or Publisher?

As an indie author, I'm both author and publisher, which means my day is never done!

4. Standalone or Series?

Series most of the time, but I do love a good standalone.

5. Where in the world do you want to travel most?


6. Author who inspires you?

Sarah J. Maas and Wendy Higgins drive me to become a better writer.

7. Cats or Dogs?


8. Favorite Movie?

Elvis and Anabelle or Crimson Peak

9. Biggest Fear?

Death or Never having the type of life I want. Being restricted, contained.